A Brief History of Virtual Reality Headsets Part 2 – Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, PlayStation VR

vr history

We are continuing our journey throughout the history of virtual reality headsets. After touching upon the two earlier models in the previous article, it is now time to take a closer look at how the current generation of headsets came to fruition. No-one would have expected a crowdfunding campaign would bring this technology to the masses in such a successful manner.

Virtual Reality Headsets Generation 2.0

It all started back in 2012 when an online crowdfunding appeared for the – at that time – unknown Oculus Rift headset. Even though there was no real consumer demand for virtual reality hardware at that time, the campaign turned out to be quite a success. The campaign was also lead by some of the world’s most prominent video game developers, who felt the time was right to introduce the Oculus Rift to the masses.

Even though the crowdfunding campaign was successful, it remained relatively quiet in the Oculus Rift land. The first major update was posted in March of 2014 when Facebook acquired the parent company Oculus VR. At that time, a sum of US$2bn was paid, indicating the crowdfunding campaign was only the first step along the path of greatness.

That being said, it still took until April of 2016 before the first units started shipping to customers, even though two separate developer units were sent out to crowdfunding campaign backers months prior. At that time, Oculus VR was no longer the only contender in the VR market, as they were joined by quite a few prominent video game companies since 2014.

To be more specific, Sony was the first to demonstrate their prototype virtual reality headset, now known as the PlayStation VR. Valve launched their prototype in the same year of 2014, which eventually lead to a partnership with HTC. As a result, the HTC Vive came to the market, although it does require users to have quite a bit of space in their room to be properly used. Even though PlayStation was the first to reveal a prototype, HTC beat them to the market in 2016 by over 6 months.

A lot of virtual reality headsets for mobile phones have seen the light of day in recent years as well. There is Google Cardboard, the Samsung Gear VR, and the LG 360 VR. Rest assured more and more companies will look to enter the smartphone-oriented virtual reality headset market over the coming years. Especially Chinese manufacturers will look to stake their claim in this industry, which will only benefit the consumer. Check out our Top 4 VR Headsets article if you are interested to learn more about current generation HMDs.

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